"We are trying our very best to open a door," began Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com's (news, site) CEO, at this morning's announcement about the expansion of Chatter. The application, baked into the Salesforce.com platform, socializes the cloud by allowing not only users, but documents, third-party applications and top customers to be followed in a Twitter/Facebook-like fashion.
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"I know more about what's going on with my high school friends sometimes than I do my own family," continued Benioff in an effort to show how much social networking platforms like Facebook have changed our lives in the last couple of years. And even though his example isn't exactly an ideal situation for many of us, the fact remains: we know a lot of information about the people we socially connect with.
Salesforce.com's idea is to connect this concept with the enterprise, so that employees know everything there is to know about everything at any given moment. Benioff became an infamous proponent for this way of thinking in a couple of posts on Techcrunch.com, including "The Facebook Imperative." At today's presentation, he made a point to say that his argument for Facebook-like enterprise software doesn't mean he wants the workplace to be as social, but to be as easy, as entertaining, and as informational.
"We are in the era of Cloud 2, where social networking use has surpassed e-mail, Facebook and YouTube use have outpaced search, and new mobile devices like the iPad are creating entirely new ways to interact with information," Benioff wrote in a statement. "With today's announcement, Salesforce.com is advancing the shift to Cloud 2, where productivity gains are going to come from real-time collaboration available on any device. We've seen the future of enterprise software, and it looks more like Facebook on the iPad than Yahoo on the PC."
Yes, Cloud 2. The other half of this morning's presentation was dedicated to discussing the new concept. As what Salesforce.com considers the next logical movement for cloud-computing, Cloud 2 is made up of several tools that mimic our favorite social solutions. And, thanks to Chatter, there will be app-to-app engagement, spreading information much like machine to machine wireless connections.
And while it's all well and good to highlight the automation of processes rather than the inane conversation that can often be found on Facebook, the truth is that many of us are still struggling to adopt and understand Cloud 1.
Benioff made some bold claims about Cloud 2, including that it would be a Lotus Notes and SharePoint replacement, as well as the doorway to a desktopless world.
Anyone else feel a bit nervous? Perhaps this isn't a door we're ready to have opened just yet. Let us know what you think.